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DA backs allowing NFA to sell rice in markets

06 May 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture supports the move of Speaker Martin Romualdez to amend the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) to allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to sell rice in the markets, DA Assistant Secretary and spokesman Arnel de Mesa said yesterday.

“We support this initiative of the House of Representatives, especially our Speaker. It is important that we will have intervention when the retail price of rice is too high,” De Mesa said.

De Mesa added that under Section 10 of the Price Act, the DA is empowered to intervene to address high retail prices of agricultural products.

ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo said that the NFA should be allowed leeway in selling rice to make the commodity more accessible to Filipinos.

Tulfo pointed out that the RTL prohibits the sale of NFA rice in the market.

Meanwhile, De Mesa said that the DA is studying the possibility of implementing anew the labeling of rice in commercial outlets, making it mandatory for retailers to inform consumers whether the staple food being sold are imported or locally produced.

During the time of former agriculture secretary Manny Piñol, retailers were tasked to label the rice as imported or locally sourced.

De Mesa also said that based on latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total rice stocks for the first quarter of 2024 went down by 100,000 metric tons from 4.78 million MT in 2023 to 4.68 million MT in the same period in 2024.

“Last year, we harvested 20.06 million metric tons. This year’s target is 20.48 million metric tons,” he added.

De Mesa said that as of April 2024, total rice imports reached 1.6 million MT.

“This is within the targeted limit of 300 to 350 thousand metric tons (per month),” he added.

Source : msn